Twentieth Century Duos

Korngold  |  Copland


Yuriy Bekker, violin

Andrew Armstrong, piano




Yuriy Bekker, violinist on Navona Records release TWENTIETH CENTURY DUOS, is joined by renowned pianist Andrew Armstrong in some of the most beautiful and rarely-performed works of the twentieth century by Jewish composers Erich Korngold and Aaron Copland.


Bekker says of the album, “The idea for this project finally came to fruition with the help of the rare 1686 Ex-Nachez Stradivarius violin.  This is the first sound recording of this violin and I believe these particular selections by Korngold and Copland highlight its most magical qualities.”


Erich Korngold’s Much Ado About Nothing Suite (1921) for violin and piano, contains moments of dialog and synchrony between the leading violin and accompanying piano.  Through interplay of the piano and violin, it is obvious that the two musicians are compatible chamber musicians as they combine forces and feed off of each other musically. Bekker breathes new life into the seldom heard but beautiful aria transcriptions from Korngold’s opera Die tote Stadt. The work originally premiered in 1920 and was a major hit. Following the premier, the Nazi regime banned the opera due to Korngold’s Jewish heritage.


Over the entire duration of Aaron Copland’s Violin Sonata (1943), the three-movement structure breaks traditional nineteenth century precedents, making it a much more modern piece than the Korngold.  The piano part is characterized by “planning,” a technique involving a series of parallel chords, which here, are made of stacked perfect fourths. Two Pieces was written by a young Copland and highlights his interest in American folk, blues, and jazz. The piece showcases Copland’s early influences, setting the foundation for his future compositions.




The album highlights the works by renowned Jewish composers Eric Korngold and Aaron Copland


Much Ado About Nothing Suite, by Erich Korngold, pre-dates the composer’s first film score by thirteen years, but possesses markers of a classic Hollywood sound, perhaps because, at least conceptually, this piece is a companion to selections from Shakespeare’s plays.  Overall, the piece is extremely traditional, and deeply influenced by late-nineteenth century German Romanticism, a style that surrounded Korngold in his childhood Vienna


Composed at the height of Aaron Copland’s “American” period, Violin Sonata contains all the hallmarks of the composer’s most beloved and remembered aesthetic


The album highlights Yuriy Bekker performing the first sound recording of a rare 1686 Ex-Nachez Stradivarius violin, owned by John and Winifred Constable


Yuriy Bekker, violinist and conductor, has led the Charleston Symphony Orchestra (South Carolina) as Concertmaster since 2007 and was named its Principal Pops Conductor in 2016. Additionally, Bekker served as the orchestra’s Acting Artistic Director from 2010-2014 and Director of Chamber Orchestra from 2014-2015, playing a major role in the orchestra’s successful resurgence. Bekker is also an adjunct faculty member of the College of Charleston School of the Arts


Bekker played a major role in years 2010-2015 in the resurgence of the Charleston Symphony while he was the Acting Artistic Director. During this time the Orchestra achieved artistic excellence and doubled its audience


Born in Minsk, Belarus, Bekker has performed worldwide as a celebrated guest concertmaster, avid chamber musician, and critically-acclaimed soloist with the Vancouver Symphony, Ulster Orchestra in Northern Ireland, and Buffalo Philharmonic, among others







Joseph Summer’s The Shakespeare Concerts Series


Release Date June 10, 2016

Catalog #: NV6046




Yuriy Bekker, violin

Andrew Armstrong, piano


Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897 – 1957)

Much Ado About Nothing, suite from the incidental music, Op. 11

1 I. Maiden in the Bridal Chamber

2 II. March of the Watch (Dogberry and Verges)

3 III. Garden Scene

4 IV. Hornpipe


5  Marietta’s Lied from Die Tote Stadt, Op. 12


6  Tanzlied des Pierrot from Die Tote Stadt, Op. 12


Aaron Copland (1900 – 1990)

Sonata for Violin and Piano

7 I. Andante semplice

8 II. Lento

9 III. Allegretto giusto


Two Pieces for Violin and Piano

10  Nocturne

11  Ukulele Serenade




Recorded on August 17-19, 2015 at the USC School of Music Recital Hall in Columbia SC


Engineer and Producer Jeff Francis

Assistant Producer Micah Gangwer


Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw

A&R Alex Bourne

Audio Director Jeff LeRoy

Mastering Andy Happel

Production Engineer Nate Hunter

Art & Production Director Brett Pickenll

Graphic Design Emily Roulo

Marketing Morgan MacLeod






Navona Records offers listeners a fresh taste of today's leading innovators in orchestral, chamber, instrumental, and experimental music as well as prime pieces of classic repertoire. Our music is meticulously performed by the finest musicians and handpicked to ensure the most rewarding listening experience.

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